The night Slava grabbed a riflemain
Twenty-four years ago this week, a group of ex-Soviet generals seized president Mikhail Gorbachev and held him hostage in Crimea. As tanks advanced on the centres of government in Moscow and Leningrad, thousands of citizens turned out to block their way.
Among them was the great cellist, Mstistlav Rostropovich, seen here relieving an exhausted parliamentary guard of his rifle.
UPDATE: Olga Rostropovich adds: The guy next to Slava is the ” bodyguard ” which was assignend to him! His name is Yura. At some point Yura fell asleep and dropped his weapon. Dad picked it up so not to wake the “bodyguard” up.
Slava emerged as an outspoken supporter of the day’s political hero, Boris Yeltsin. The coup – which I watched live on television from the nervous safety of a media conference in Helsinki – was overcome within days.
Gorbachev was released but, broken, resigned before the year was out, to be succeeded by Yeltsin.
h/t: Boris Brovtsyn